In this case no news is good news is not good news, at least for the fish of Aboite. Attorneys for both Aqua Indiana, serial killer of gold fish in our tony western suburbs, and the city of Fort Wayne, arch enemy of west side dry cleaners, explained to council last night that they were still talking, inching ever closer to a deal that would transfers the assets of AI to the city in exchange for a pile of cash.
You may remember the colorful language that was used at a public hearing a few weeks back to describe how Aboite residents felt about their AI water; comments were as overwhelming acid as the water is purported to be. Customers spewed insults through clenched teeth: they complain of ruined clothes, black syrup emitting from taps and the deaths of the family fish who had prospered many years with City Utilities water, but went belly up shortly after the short move to Aboite and a new tank full of AI water. It sounded like old Mexico: don’t drink the water, don’t cook with, don’t use ice cubes, buy bottled water.
So, last night, former Fifth District City Councilman and lawyer Mark GiaQuinta was there to represent Aqua Indiana. Adjacent to him at the witness end of the city council table was another lawyer, Tim Pape, the most recent Fifth District councilman. Sitting beside the two was Geoff Paddock listening carefully to his predecessors and wondering what to believe. Mssrs. GiaQuinta and Pape agreed that the talks were progressing and asked that council give them just a little more time… Both gushed praise on City Council Attorney Joe Bonahoom for his role in what the attorneys called very complex negotiations. In the back of the room the local manager, or mismanager, as the Aboite witnesses from the previous session might retort, smiled. Not a good sign for the community wallet.
Mr. Pape on his way out noted that Mayor Tom Henry had been trying from the first days of his administration to cut a deal with the fish killers. According to Mr. Pape, five offers were sent by winged courier, but nary a response was heard until the city threatened confiscation through eminent domain.
So, the meters on the lawyer desks are running, partners are eyeing new Mercedes S550s and we should hear back someday, someday, someday. Further action was postponed indefinitely until off-shore bank accounts can be opened and the proper trim package selected. Moved, seconded, next business.
Parks Director Al Moll came before council for a $100,000 appropriation for Headwaters Park. That park, you may also recall, is managed by the Headwaters Park Alliance, a private organization that raises, as Mr. Moll reminded last night, some 80% of the operating costs to run the central park. Great deal, he called it. Headwaters is the home of Germanfest, weddings, Greekfest, an ice rink and Makers Faire, to name just a very few. In fact, Executive Director and City Councilman Geoff Paddock noted that the park calendar is nearly full and that the income from festivals and the like helps provide a portion of that 80% he and others on the Alliance raise. It might be added that Councilman John Shoaff helped form the Alliance, was the chairman of the Headwaters Park Commission that designed and built HWP and he hired Councilman Paddock to run the thing after cutting the funding deal with then Mayor Paul Helmke. It might also be noted that a few years back current Mayor Henry tried to cut the Headwaters budget to effectively put Paddock out of work. The appropriation passed 7-0-1, the lone abstention that of Mr. Paddock. Oh, and it should also be noted that the architect of Headwaters Park was in town a couple weeks back, at the invitation of Councilman Shoaff and his wife, Julie Donnell, who runs the organization, Friends of the Parks, to promote Headwaters 2.0, which amounts to a doubling of the size of the current park to extend along the rivers from the Filtration Plant to near Swinney Park. Seems Mayor Henry poo-pooed the idea and other council members have their own ideas on how the riverfront should look. The fight over Legacy expenditures is getting interesting, enter Richard III.
Finally, “leasing” a parking meter in downtown Fort Wayne will soon cost twice as much. An hour’s parking will cost $.50, half a dollar. Those of you who think the $.25 was outrageous should now plan to move to Arcola and dig a bunker. Oh, and expect to see “smart” meters downtown soon. Who quite knows what that means, but gird your loins, patriots, it is a sure sign of creeping socialism.